The rain has ceased momentarily in Phnom Penh, the outside heathered, fogged as an Autumn evening in Washington- a sliver of verdant trees visible through the window.
I sit on an oversized bed, crisp white sheets with the methodic swirl of the fan above me. Shrill cries of children playing outside, putter of motos skittering across the wet ground, a sporadic mewl of the cat somewhere on the premises of the villa next door. It has been a fatigued yet sanguine past six days in the city reconnecting with the place I once called home.
Throughout the thirteen hour plane ride to Taipei, I could not stop watching the woman in front of me. Between bouts of sleep and finding myself staring at the ceiling, I would notice faintly but strongly her presence in a plane full of people. Forty years old or sixty, it was difficult to gauge. Her high, gaunt cheekbones battled against full, tanned cheeks and her hair flecked with dove grey stranded elegantly through inky black. I never quite got a strong, clear look at her eyes or mouth, only glimpses through the space between the seat and the window as I sat behind.
Watching someone you love and respect work on something passionately with focus, drive, and serious intent makes you want them to achieve the success they’re reaching for that much more. In this case it’s been one of my best friends, partner in crime, and influencer Nick Casanova.
What was it that made my brief walk home from my neighbourhood bar so unapologetically lavishly feminine and dauntless? An anomaly of exposure and tenacious durability.
There are days when it feels like everything has been flecked with rose gold and hazel and honey. They are rare and they’re when I feel my heart in my throat and even sleep deprived and synapses slow, everything feels delicious.
I feel everything so keenly and bluntly today. A grade A example of a seemingly bipolar being, sensing each moment pointedly and on each end of the spectrum. Some fill me with what feels like a hot cup of tea, filled with surprising lemon tartness and smooth honey and warmth and safety, making it difficult to breathe in a way where everything seems to skip a beat- some are ragged and painful and sharp around the edges, making it difficult to breathe and not in the lovely way where everything seems to skip a beat.
The lust to wander is back full force and I don’t quite know what to do with this familiar feeling. It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg situation: I purchased a ticket for a brief stint (hopefully filled to the brim with work and collaborative ideas) back to Phnom Penh and since then haven’t been able to take my mind off getting out. Did the desire to make my way across the world again force me to finally buy a ticket or was it purchasing my flight that’s got me all riled up to go?
Inappropriate and sometimes downright aggressive encounters are not rare in the life of women today. All women, to varying degrees, experience some form of misogyny, disrespect, or overstepping of boundaries just too consistently.
Yesterday I was awakened from a hazy sleep with a text from my landlord asking if I had a check ready for rent and I popped out of bed, immediately wrote one out, and handed it to her as she ran by with her dog, Pepper. Even though I felt a bit chagrined that I had forgotten to put the rent in the dropbox a day before, ran out with a sweatshirt hastily pulled over my slip and was caught sleeping in like a teenager- I was grateful.